This morning Iran announced that they have successfully sent a monkey into space and back. The monkey reportedly returned from the adventure unharmed.
As reported on state TV in Iran, the rocket “Pishgam” was launched and returned recently, but specific location and times were undisclosed. The broadcast claimed that the rocket, carrying the monkey, traveled approximately 72 miles into space. Images released feature a small monkey wearing protective clothing and secured into a “pod.”
As reported by Space.com, the first animals successfully launched into space were dogs. Tsygan and Dezik were sent to into space by the Soviet Union in 1951. Both dogs returned safely. Previous attempts at sending mammals into space were unsuccessful. Other animals traveling into space include bullfrogs, garden spiders, and newts. Iran has previously launched rockets carrying worms, a turtle, and a mouse.
Iran’s claim to have successfully launched a monkey into space is just one step in an attempt to advance their space program. As reported by ABC News, Iran ultimately aspires to send an astronaut into space.
There are few details known about how Iran intends to proceed with the program. They have stated that they intend to launch satellites into orbit in an effort to monitor and improve military operations, telecommunications and to aid in the case of natural disasters.
Critics of the program are concerned that new technology could lead to the development of long-rang missiles armed with nuclear warheads. Iran contends that they have not sought nuclear reactors in an effort to create weapons. They insist that the reactors would be used exclusively for medical and energy purposes.